Outdoor Skills - Hunting Q&A

Q: How long can a carcass go without being gutted before the meat starts to spoil?

Field & Stream Online Editors

A: That depends on the size of the animal and on what the air and ground temperatures are. As a rule, if you put off gutting for more than an hour or so, you are probably going to get some spoilage. A big animal, like an elk, can spoil even after being gutted because its body loses heat so slowly.